Rise of anti-Muslim raids in UK: Report

Rise of anti-Muslim raids in UK: Report
Tue Jul 30, 2013 09:26:00

Around half of mosques and Muslim centers in Britain have been subjected to Islamophobic attacks since 9/11, especially after Woolwich attack in London, a report says.

British academics warned about the wave of Islamophoic raids as the far-right English Defense League prepares to march to the south-London scene of Drummer Lee Rigby’s murder.

The figures are highlighted in a report which also found that the number of anti-Islamic attacks increased by as much as tenfold in the days following the Woolwich attack.

Meanwhile, research by The Independent newpaper shows Islamophobic attacks spreading across Britain, with mosques being set alight and Muslims targeted at home in the past months.

Despite the warning signs, a senior government adviser told The Independent that there remains a “lack of political will” to take on the rise of Islamophobic attacks in Britain.

The adviser, who did not want to be named, said that attempts to “tackle this issue – even before Woolwich – struggled to attract buy-in,” with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, identified as the primary source of frustration.

Professor Nigel Copsey, of Teesside University, the author of the new report which showed that between 40 and 60 percent of mosques and other Islamic centers (around 700) had been targeted since 9/11 – said: “There has undoubtedly been a spike in anti-Muslim incidents since the Woolwich murder. An obvious concern now is whether the number of hate crime incidents returns to ‘normal’ levels or whether Woolwich has been a game-changer in terms of increasing the underlying incidence of anti-Muslim hate over the longer term.”

His report is based largely on figures from the Islamophobia watchdog Tell Mama. It shows an increase of attacks to nearly nine per day in the immediate aftermath of the Woolwich killing, but settling back to around two per day over in the following weeks. Professor Copsey added: “What is significant about our analysis is the extent to which the far right is implicated in anti-Muslim hate crime.”

Just this week, swastikas and the letters “EDL”, “KKK” and “NF” were sprayed on the walls of a mosque in Redditch. There were also reports of pigs’ heads being left at Muslim families’ homes and other attacks against individuals. There was also an attack on an Islamic centre in north London.

But Matthew Goodwin, associate fellow at Chatham House and an expert on extremist groups, said that “the broader picture is more positive than we think. Young people are more at ease accepting Muslims in society.”

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “There is no place for anti-Muslim hatred or any kind of hatred in Britain, and we are committed to tackling this unacceptable scourge.”

This is while, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) as one of Britain's largest Islamic groups said a "dramatic escalation in violence" against British Muslims needs a much tougher response from the government.


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